NETHERLANDS – Almost three-quarters of Dutch pension fund assets are now externally managed, according to a new report by consulting firm Bureau Bosch.

The report cited the Netherlands’ Central Bureau of Statistics as saying the total amount of Dutch pension fund assets amounted to 403.5 billion euros as at the end of the first quarter this year.

And it said that there are 296.1 billion euros of externally-managed assets, or 73.4% of the total. In 2002, 68% of assets were externally managed. Ten years, ago external management accounted for 40%.

Bureau Bosch found that the top 10 managers ran 210.4 billion euros, which equates to 71.1% of externally managed assets. Last year the amount was 226.7 billion euros, with a 73% share.

“This implies that a very large portion of institutional money is managed by a small number of managers,” the report said. “The top 10 had its peak in 1995 with 82%.” Dutch managers still dominate the top 15 places, though foreign managers are better represented below the top 15.

And the report noted that managers said there is an ongoing shift to enhanced indexing – “that is to say to a modest active risk towards the benchmark”.

It found that 67%, or 198.4 billion euros, of the externally managed assets are run by Dutch managers.

Bureau Bosch surveyed 75 investment managers which manage Dutch pension fund assets.

Meanwhile, the two largest pension funds in the Netherlands, ABP and PGGM, have expressed unease over the appointment of the new chief executive at troubled retailer Ahold.

Civil service fund ABP and health care fund PGGM have written to Ahold supervisory board chairman Henny de Ruiter to express their disappointment over remuneration package of new chief executive Anders Moberg. They say they have no problem with the candidate himself.

The letter, dated September 8, was signed by ABP investment chief Jean Frijns and his counterpart at PGGM, Roderick Munsters.